EnvironmentalGeographyAwarenessPhysical Geography

Australian Flood Maps

Like many recent weather-related disasters, the media and on-line websites have started to increasingly use interactive maps to explain disasters such as Guardian UK and other news outlets coverage of the current Australian flooding. In most areas where flooding is a problem, flood maps are very important not only for planning, such as the work done by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, but also for insurance purposes. In fact, flood insurance has been a major topic of debate over the past few years in Australia, and GIS plays an important part in it as demonstrated in a 2009 ESRI Australia Insurance Flood Map and Risk Policy Pricing video.

The flooding reminded me of a 1988 science fiction disaster book I read called “The Drowning Towers” by distinguished Australian writer George Turner, which explored what would happen to society, if Australia flooded. It is considered one of the top science fiction novels of all time, but at the time it was written the idea of a flood on such a huge scale was considered to be unbelievable. It is interesting to me because disaster fiction always seems related to the geographical background of the person writing it, flooding has always been a very real problem in Australia. Corbis images has pictures of the Brisbane, Australia flood of 1893, Walking Melbourne has many historic photos includes ones of the 1863 flood, while the Australian Bureau of Meteorology provides a brief history of Queensland floods.

Finally, a national appeal has been started to raise funds, accept donations, and provide resources through the Queensland government.

7 thoughts on “Australian Flood Maps

  1. I find it amazing that the best (only?) online map showing the extent of the flooding in Australia comes from a UK newspaper. The closest the Australian’s come is the BOM site showing river gauges. The traffic and travel web site http://www.131940.qld.gov.au can only manage textual road closures and poor quality pdf maps. The Queensland government site http://www.disaster.qld.gov.au/ does not have any maps.

    I think web based interactive maps can play a significant role in informing the community and Queensland needs to lift its game.

  2. There is a real time flood mapping website delivered by Landgate (the state land information authority in Western Australia) that covers continental Australia and which is updated daily via satellite coverage. Cloud does preclude observation s at critical times.

    URL for the site is http://floodmap.landgate.wa.gov.au

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